REGIONAL: CLIMATE IMPACT
88% OF ALL DISASTERS IN THE REGION SINCE 2020 HAVE BEEN WEATHER-RELATED
According to WMO, through their recently issued “State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021” report, Latin America and the Caribbean’s various sub-regions are all experiencing some form extreme weather and climate change that may potentially cause irreversible damage and endanger lives and food and water security.
Of the 175 UNDRR-registered disasters in the region between 2020-2022, 88 per cent have been meteorological, climatological and/or hydrological in origin, accounting for 40 per cent of recorded disaster-related deaths and 71 per cent of economic losses.
WMO indicates that Amazonia, northeastern Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of Mexico will likely see increased drought conditions, while hurricanes impacts may increase in Central America and the Caribbean. In particular, northern Central American countries, the Andes in South America and north-eastern Brazil are particularly susceptible to climaterelated migration and displacement, as extreme weather events linked to climate change continue amplify and exacerbate existing socio-economic drivers.
The region continues to become warmer, with the average rate of temperature rise of 0.2°C every ten years between 1991 and 2021 doubling the 0.1°C rate per decade recorded between 1961 and 1990. In South America, glaciers, a critical freshwater source, continue to lose mass, with some losing as much as 30 to 50 per cent of their area between 1990 and 2020. Central Chile is going on 13 years of drought, the longest drought in the region in the last millennium, while the central-eastern Parana-La Plata Basin is suffering its worst drought since 1944, causing agricultural damage and reduced crop production in parts of Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay.
Sea levels are rising at a rate faster than the global rate, notably along the subtropical North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Atlantic coast of South America below the equator, threatening highly concentrated coastal populations with eroding shorelines and increased flooding in low-lying areas.
The report also notes record rainfalls in various parts of the region throughout 2021 with tens of thousands of damaged or destroyed homes and hundreds of thousands of people displaced.